Reforming education in all provinces

High level meeting discusses course of action.

Express December 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali said that abolition of the Ministry of Education under the 18th amendment would be counterproductive.

While addressing the opening session of the seventh meeting of Pakistan Educational Task Force (PETF) here in Islamabad on Saturday, he said the ministry is overseeing the affairs of more than 14 million students and seventy-nine thousand teachers of Islamabad Capital Territory, Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJ&K. Furthermore, the Advanced Research Centre and Area Study Centres working under the federal government are part of Federal Legislative List and cannot be handed over to the provinces.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, the PETF meeting was co-chaired by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector Shahnaz Wazir Ali and Sir Michael Barber.

The meeting was held to receive an update on the work of the Task Force Secretariat team, which has been undertaking the Reform Road Map for Punjab schools, Education Fund for Sindh and Balochistan Action Plan.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali affirmed that the Task Force forum will continue to serve as a convening agent for a national discourse on education. The purpose is to catalyse and give direction to the education reform debate in the provinces, she said.

The Third Party review of Pakistan Education Task Force, undertaken by River Path associates, was discussed at length. A candid discussion was undertaken on restructuring the operations and mandate of the Task Force.

The meeting concluded on consensus that Task Force 2 will be poised to take the education discussion to a new level of engagement with the political leadership and other critical stakeholders in the society.

Furthermore, the Department for International Development reaffirmed its commitment to providing £3 million for setting up an ‘innovation fund’ for creative ideas in improving the delivery of education.

The meeting was also attended by all provincial education secretaries, high officials of provincial educations departments, member of the PETF, Mian Ahsan Saleem, CEO, The Citizens Foundation along with others.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2010.

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